The LuMee Case offers two LED strips in a snug protective shell to lighten selfies, but is this enough to brighten your day? We dive in!
Sometimes, the accessory is where it’s at. LG certainly made that play with the modular G5 – which can be equipped with a number of ‘friends’, while Motorola’s Moto Z sports removable back plates which support a variety of functions. For everyone else, the look and feel of your phone is usually defined by what case you slap on it. The LuMee case enters the stage on that last premise.
It’s 2016, and selfies are here to say. Everyone from your grandmother all the way to Kim Kardashian snaps a figure of their mug when no-one’s looking, and that’s promoted a wellspring of ideas. If you’re really a selfie-holic, you could equip yourself with a remote shutter or even a selfie stick.
Those two ideas solve problems around timing and range, and that’s great. Yet, little has been done up until now to give your smartphone’s meagre front-facing camera boost.
Thing is, most front facing cameras on contemporary smartphones are little more than a courtesy feature; their tiny sensor and small aperture are often responsible for the grainy texture on the selfies your friend Jane captures from the club. Some niche smartphones have great front-facing cameras to capture the minutiae of your face, but those handsets are a minority.
So, the premise of the LuMee case is simple; let’s lighten your face and show up your good side.
What does it do?
The case itself is a large affair best suited to Kim K’s matching handbag; its rear shell apes the size of the iPhone 6/s Plus even when equipped on the standard model iPhone. Made out of plastic, this doesn’t offer a luxurious feel or the impact protection you might expect it to.
The front of the case is made from clear plastic, and is sticky. Getting your phone in and out of this beast can be a tricky endeavour; just make sure you read the manual first so that you know to push your phone up and out akin to the rush you get from your morning coffee.
On the case’s front, we find two LED panels. Two arrays of bulbs are toggled and dimmed from a rear button, which is clicky but effective.
LED lights usually evoke imagery of a laboratory setup thanks to their sterile white nature. The LuMee case uses warm LEDs to give a natural hue, and this highlights the better parts of your skin tone.
When setting up a photographic shoot, one might notice the presence of three lights; a key, fill, and backlight. While a backlight illuminates a subject from behind, a key and fill lighten a subject from opposing angles to ensure no shadows get in the way.
If you’ve invented an iPhone case that has a built-in backlight, drop us a line in the comments below; but otherwise, remain assured that the LuMee case’s key and fill light do their job exceptionally well. Both lights cross-target a subject and minimise shadows falling across one’s face.
I’ve got the power
Unlike some iPhone cases which use a Lightning connection to power whatever function they provide, the LuMee case is charged by a Micro USB connection which leaves a user free to charge their iPhone whenever they wish. That’s a great idea, as often when taking an abundance of selfies (or, hey, photographs) one might need to charge up their device quickly. Users can expect to find a complimentary Micro USB cable in the LuMee case’s box.
Speaking of photographs, the good news is that the LuMee case needn’t be used simply as a selfie amplifier; one can use it to lighten up objects while taking images as well. The positioning of both strips on the case’s front panel secures its use in close-up photography. As you’ll see below, I believe my pooch agrees.
Is the LuMee case a ridiculous idea? Yes, absolutely. But then again, 2016 has been a ridiculous year.
The fact of the matter is that this is a wonderful and wacky iPhone case which does its job well. If you’re serious about taking selfies or happen to FaceTime or Skype your loved ones often, this is a particularly great investment. It’ll even remove that horrible grain from your club photos if you’re that way inclined, giving you a one-up on Jane.
As one who prefers to take photos rather than be in them, I grew to appreciate the LuMee case more over time. The epitome of a simple idea executed well, this is a great and fun addition to an iPhone. It’s listed as one of Oprah’s favourite things for good reason; it’s great fun and will give your selfies the boost they’ve been needing.
Want to buy the LuMee case?
Beware of cheap imitations! If you’re looking to spruce up your selfies, only the original will do. Our friends at iToys stock the LuMee case in three different colours (black, silver, and rose gold) for the iPhone 5, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus. Check out the range here!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA